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Match Reports

Report: Stalemate at Highbury as Town held by Walsall

17 November 2018

Fleetwood Town drew 0-0 against Walsall in Saturday’s Sky Bet League One fixture at Highbury, keeping their first clean sheet at home this season.

Jason Holt had Fleetwood’s best chance in a tight first half, with Russell Martin heading wide at the other end for The Saddlers. 

Paddy Madden and substitute Ched Evans threatened in the second half, with Walsall keeper Liam Roberts also saving brilliantly to deny Ross Wallace from inside the area.

Walsall had the first chance of the game in the seventh minute, after Nathan Sheron gave a foul away in a dangerous area just outside the 18-yard-box. The free-kick was hit hard and low around the wall, with Alex Cairns equal to the ball after getting down low to make the save from Josh Ginnelly.

Walsall continued their quick start as Jon Guthrie almost capitalised from Ginnelly’s corner, but his header was narrowly wide at the back post.

It took 14 minutes for Fleetwood’s first chance to arrive. After some great build up play, Sheron was able to cut it back from the byline to Jason Holt who was just arriving into the back, unfortunately his shot was over the bar. 

The Saddlers came knocking again in the 17th minute, as a cross swung in again by Ginnelly missed all the bodies in the box and bounced just past the back post, which was carefully watched by Cairns.

Fleetwood Town grew into the game and broke quickly down the left, midway through the first half, as James Husband ran at the Walsall backline before playing Hunter through, who returned the favour with a back heeled pass but Husband’s cross was caught comfortably by Roberts.

Husband’s next call of action was 32 minutes in, as the left back made a great recovery challenge, at the back post, to deny Zeli Ismail a chance to get a shot off at goal.

The resulting corner was short and picked up by Ginnelly who whipped one in, but Martin couldn’t keep his header down as it flew over the target.

Seven minutes before the break, Wes Burns chased down a loose ball before some brilliant individual skill, allowing him to pull the ball back to Hunter but he missed the chance to get a shot away.

The game was quite open now with Fleetwood having a spell of better chances, and another came during the 40th minute when Lewie Coyle forced Roberts into making a save after his shot was low and hard across goal. Town continued to pile on the pressure, a minute later, when Bolger’s attempt meant another save from Roberts was needed.

It was all square going in at the break but the Cod Army came out stronger with a chance after two minutes. Ross Wallace almost capitalised to get the opener with a magnificent volley at the back post from eight yards, but it was saved by Roberts.

Evans was subbed on after 59 minutes had been played and almost made an instant impact just three minutes later but couldn’t get his shot away as the ball dropped to him, although this led to a great chance for Hunter who’s low shot was blocked.

The first booking of the afternoon came in the 73rd minute for an off-the-ball challenge by Martin. The resulting free kick, taken by Wallace, was hit softly into the palms of Roberts.

Walsall responded, three minutes later, with their first dangerous attack of the half. Ginnelly was able to find the space to take two shots, left of the 18-yard-box, but both were bravely blocked by Town’s backline.

The final actions of the game came in the 87th minute, as Walsall caused a goalmouth scramble in Fleetwood’s box as the ball fizzed across the line, leaving Highbury on edge, but the ball was eventually collected by Cairns.

So a point for Fleetwood, and a first clean sheet of the season at Highbury. Next up, a trip to Plymouth next Saturday.


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